April 17, 2014

Facebook Advertising

Marketers are spending big on social advertising. According to BIA/Kelsey social media advertising revenue will grow from $2.1B in 2010 to $8.3B in 2015. Social media users are being targeted now in more ways than ever: in Facebook news feeds, LinkedIn profiles, promoted tweets, and much more. But Facebook advertising has proven to be one of the trickier mediums to master.

With all of the money marketers are spending on Facebook advertising, it’s becoming more and more important to use that budget effectively. Below are some important tips marketers can implement as they set up Facebook advertising campaigns.

Advertising within news feeds

Studies show that the sidebar ads on Facebook don’t get much love. Marketing Land recently reported that news feed ads attained a click-through-rate 44 times higher than right-side display ads, and a conversion rate 5 times higher.
Using the news feeds advertising feature you can interrupt your audience while they scroll through their news feed – keeping your brand in front of them while they are already surfing the web, and often, instead of hoping your right-side display ad catches their attention.

Set up mobile-specific campaigns

More than half (53%) of Facebook’s ad revenue in 2013 came from mobile users, and with more than 70% of Facebook’s monthly traffic coming mobile – revenue from mobile will continue to grow. The explosion of mobile Facebook use is reason enough to set up campaigns that target mobile users specifically. Mobile-specific campaigns enable advertisers to tailor ad copy, creative, and landing pages to smartphone and tablet users. Having an understanding of these users helps marketers implement the best ways to help them quickly convert from impression to click, call, or like on their mobile device.

Refresh creative regularly.

Rotating ad and landing page creative regularly is probably more important on Facebook advertising than any other type of display paid search program. The most important part of your ad is the image, and making sure it catches the attention of your target audience can be tricky. By refreshing the images in your creative regularly you ensure that users will see a variety of your ads and images so they aren’t inundated with the same creative day after day. KISSmetrics recommends having only a few ads in each campaign, running them until they’ve accrued enough impressions and clicks, and then throwing out the lowest performing ads and optimizing the ones that perform well.

Facebook advertising is one of the more challenging mediums marketers will encounter. Because of the social nature of the platform, it can be difficult to get user’s to engage with businesses. However, when done following the above outline techniques along with other best practices for display advertising, Facebook can be a viable medium for brand awareness, lead generation, and more.

Want more tips for social media and lead gen? Our white paper, B2B Lead Generation for Social Media: Tips for Generating and Tracking Phone Leads, is a great resource to use as you continue learning.

The post Top 3 Tips for Optimizing Social Advertising on Facebook appeared first on Ifbyphone.

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SpeechTrans Ultimate for Windows 8.1 offers real-time speech-to-speech translation, dictation, and instant messaging on Facebook, Google Talk, Yahoo!, and AIM.

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April 16, 2014

call tracking questionsQuick review: phone calls matter! There is a larger percentage of SMBs rating telephone leads as “good” or “excellent” than any other lead type, according to BIA/Kelsey. Thus, it is imperative for marketers to track different marketing channels to properly gauge overall performance and ROI. Makes sense, right?

Acknowledging the importance of call tracking and call management technology within that marketing mix, however, is only step one.  Next, you must learn how to properly select, implement and analyze voice-based marketing measurements to optimize all campaigns and gain a more complete picture of lead and revenue generation. The key to success is to ask the right questions.

Do I Need Call Tracking Technology?

Phone calls are far from a dead medium for marketing and customer interaction. In 2012, U.S. businesses spent $68 billion on local advertising to generate phone calls alone, accounting for 47% of all local advertising. That figure shows no signs of slowing down, either.

Therefore, your company should consider the role phone calls play in everyday marketing activities. Call tracking technology helps answer some basic questions to satisfy the demands of the C-suite as well as fuel more efficient campaigns in the future. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • Is our company missing potential sales calls?
  • Are our marketing dollars being spent in the most effective places for optimal, high-quality lead generation?
  • What markets are we most successful in?
  • Which marketing activities are underperforming?

The data from call tracking technology helps companies address important business challenges and make wiser decisions supported by statistical evidence. With real-time reporting and post-call analysis, companies can monitor trends, adjust campaigns quickly, and determine ROI efficiently.

What Call Tracking Metrics Are Most Important?

It is no secret that CEOs, CMOs, and CFOs are demanding more accurate data reporting from all departments to ensure decision making is data-driven and accountable. But executives do not want every piece of data to be scrutinized equally. Departments must understand which metrics are most relevant to their goals and strategies to gauge performance and identify trends.

For marketers, there are a wide variety of metrics that can be collected and optimized with the right marketing technology. When selecting phone metrics consider a few key concerns, including:

  • Do we need total number of phone leads or detailed, keyword-level call tracking?
  • Do we want to customize lead distribution?
  • Will we integrate our statistics with other analytics sources such as Google Analytics or Google Adwords?
  • Will the data volumes be analyzed in-house or exported to a third party?

Call tracking technology can be easily customized to accommodate a variety of campaign types and provide more in-depth insight to decision makers. The information can be applied to track performance of PPC ads, conduct A/B testing, identify lead-generating keywords, and even measure call length when compared to sales outcomes. Furthermore, voice-based marketing automation solutions should be easily integrated with analytics solutions such as Google Analytics so reports include data from all major channels.

What Do I Do With the Metrics?

You have gathered all your information and integrated the data with analytics technology.  Now what? While marketing and sales departments may be interested in how metrics illustrate trends in customer behavior or preferences, C-suite executives are typically focused on the bottom line: revenue.

This means looking at what campaigns and activities are driving leads and which leads are converting to sales. In short, conversion rates cut to the chase for a busy CEO making budgetary decisions. Once conversions are addressed, companies can collect valuable consumer insight and behavior trends through call data analytics that can be used to design more efficient campaigns in the future. Call tracking can help answer a variety of post-call questions such as:

  • Which campaign tactics are driving lead conversion?
  • How much revenue as generated through phone-based sales?
  • What trends are generating positive customer responses, broken down by demographic?
  • How effective are sales teams at creating a satisfactory customer experience?

When all the call measurement pieces are in place, marketers can identify the goals of each campaign, track valuable data and make real-time adjustments, and analyze the results to improve future campaigns and report on performance to the executive suite. To achieve all these endpoints, marketers must figure out what the C-suite and internal team need, and what features and functionality of call tracking and measurement technology work within this strategy.

To learn more about specific options and features of voice-based marketing automation, check out our “Buyer’s Guide to Call Tracking Software for Marketers.”

The post Ask the Right Questions When Considering Call Tracking Technology: Before, During, and After Calls appeared first on Ifbyphone.

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April 15, 2014

When a server goes down, or a bug in your code causes problems for customers – your team springs into action. Quickly rallying the right teams is crucial to solving the problem. But, you have to contact your team intelligently. PagerDuty launched a new feature to alert multiple people at once to decrease your incident resolution times.

Rallying The Right People, The Right Way


PagerDuty integrates with all your IT monitoring tools so that the instant something breaks, you’re in the know. Their new Multi-User Alerting feature puts you in charge of which teams get alerted, how, and when. In the event an incident happens, PagerDuty will follow your escalation plan exactly as you laid it out.

For example, let’s say your ecommerce store goes down. It may not make much sense to call the head of engineering right off the bat. Using PagerDuty, you can set up an escalation flow that alerts the on call developer via Twilio SMS first. If he can’t fix the problem, then PagerDuty can contact two other developers on call via Twilio Voice. If the incident still isn’t solved after a few hours, PagerDuty can send an email blast to the entire engineering team, and trigger a call to the heads of engineering to get them up to speed.

Building Around Team Preferences

Working efficiently with your team means paying attention to each team member’s individual preferences. Every PagerDuty user can manage how they would like to be contacted when an incident occurs: via Voice, SMS, Email or Push Notification. They can also control the cadence, meaning they’ll receive and SMS ten minutes into the incident, a call 20 minutes in, etc.

Teams can plan out scenarios where they miss incidents, and create automatic escalations to other team members to decrease incident resolution times. PagerDuty helps companies be more reliable by eliminating the chaos and noise around incident management.

“By using Twilio’s flexible communications platform, we’re able to meet our customers’ alerting scenario to ensure the right people are alerted at the right time,” said Dave Hayes, Product Manager, PagerDuty

Learn more about PagerDuty and try out their new feature here.

Responding To Incidents Intelligently: PagerDuty Launches New Notification Flow Powered by Twilio Voice, SMS

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universal analytics primetimeGoogle announced last week that Universal Analytics is out of beta and is now being rolled into primetime. All users can now make the switch to Universal, and if you haven’t already, what are you waiting for? The primetime roll out of Universal Analytics means you can migrate your existing Google Analytics account to Universal without losing any of your data, and with Universal you’ll be provided a wealth of valuable data about your customers and prospects.

Remarketing and Content Experiments

The beta of Universal Analytics did not include the remarketing tool rolled out in Classic Analytics, and it also did not include content experiments. The primetime Universal includes both of these features, providing marketers with the ability to reach targeted audiences in a whole new way and even conduct A/B testing with content experiments.

With remarketing, you can reach visitors who left your website without converting by delivering ad content on other websites as they surf the web. With Universal Analytics you can create segmented lists based on the pages and actions users took on your website before leaving to deliver them content specific to the pages they viewed.

Content experiments enable Universal Analytics users to run A/B and multivariate testing on their web pages or app screens to a random sample of their website visitors. This tool offers a lot of control over the A/B test itself, including what percentage of visitors are included in the experiment.

Tracking Offline Conversions

Classic Google Analytics limited marketers to only viewing data from online sources. With Universal, marketing teams everywhere are provided the ability to view and track online and offline interactions in one unified interface. Phone calls, in-store visits, and other offline conversions can be tracked alongside your online interactions, offering a broader scope of data and enabling you to attribute the correct source to every conversion and sale. The ability to track both online and offline conversions also helps marketers understand the channels that generate the most revenue, and ROI from those channels.

User ID and Cross-Device Conversions

Google announced also that they are rolling out the User ID feature to Universal accounts showing anonymous activity and engagements from users across different screens and devices. We’ve written about how to track cross-device and estimated total conversions in Universal analytics in this blog post if you are interested in learning more.

The post Google Universal Analytics Rolls Out to Primetime: Have You Made the Switch? appeared first on Ifbyphone.

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Customer experience is everything to your business. Without the right set of software tools and the right mindset, it’s impossible to meet your customers’ expectations and keep up with the market. The Engineering The Customer Experience Roadshow is coming to your backyard to give you the technical training, industry insight and software focused communication solutions you need to keep your customers happy

Starting May 13th, we’re hitting the road with Forrester Research, LiveOps, SendHub, OneReach, and Google to teach you how to streamline business communications, skip time-consuming carrier negotiations, and avoiding using old-school hardware that doesn’t scale to your business needs.

“Today’s mobile and social customers expect simple, immediate, in-context interactions. Armed with the mobility and freedom of mobile applications, customers aren’t the least bit hesitant to cut ties with firms that don’t provide them.” says Phil Murphy of Forrester Research, Inc.

Grab Your Ticket

Spaces are limited. Register before May 5th, and use the promo code CXRoadshow to save 50% off of the $99 ticket. Here’s where we’re headed:

The Customer Experience Roadshow Schedule – What To Expect

Each roadshow will feature a half day workshop where you’ll gain market insight from thought leaders like Forrester Research, and hear from Twilio customers who use software communications to empower their customers everyday.


The day before each roadshow, we will have Partner Training, to cover common Twilio-powered use cases, best practices, and application design principles. At the end of a hands-on training, you’ll know how to use the Twilio API to send and receive texts and calls, even from your browser.

We can’t wait to see you on the road. Register here before May 5th, and use promocode CXRoadshow to get 50% off your ticket. Stay tuned to the Twilio blog and the hashtag #CXRoadshow for the latest updates on where we’ll be, content and roadshow news.

Taking Customer Success To Your City: Join Us On The Engineering The Customer Experience Roadshow

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April 14, 2014

Left: CTO Eric Lambrecht Right: CEO Jeff Yasuda

Left: CTO Eric Lambrecht Right: CEO Jeff Yasuda

When you’re on hold, it might seem like time drags on forever. Your customers feel the same way when they’re on hold– because hold music is terrible.

Feed.FM is on a mission to provide a legal and easy way to add popular music (anything from Arcade Fire to Zeppelin) to your app, website, or game. They take care of all of the reporting, billing and licensing so you can focus on building your app and keeping your customers engaged.

Feed.fm’s API makes hold music better so you can keep your customers on the line, keep them happy, and improve conversions. It’s part of their philosophy of Music as a Service: using music to build a better customer experience on anything from hold music, ad campaigns, to in-game soundtracks.

After switching up Fuzz Blackjack’s in-game they boosted the average session playing time from 11 minutes to 51 minutes, the rate of return visit from 15% to 41%, and dropped the bounce rate from 52% to 2%. Now, Feed.FM is trying to bring the same results to your customer service line using Twilio.

Below is a demo of how to integrate Feed.fm’s easily searchable music database into your Twilio app using the Twilio API and Feed.fm API.

Make sure to sign up for the API at feed.fm/twilio and enter the promo code “twiliorocks” to get some free music and try out the service.  You can also check out their post about the integration on the Feed.fm blog.

Integrating Feed FM and Twilio

Twilio has a special markup language called TwiML that you use to create documents that tell it how to respond to voice calls. For example, you can associate a phone number with a URL that generates the following document:

Feed eff em and Twilio are keen!

When that phone number is called, Twilio will tell the caller about two cool services, then hang up. The commands in the document are called verbs. The

verb instructs Twilio to read text to the caller. TwiML has a verb called
that places the caller in a hold queue. Normally while in the hold queue, your poor caller is subject to the default Twilio hold music. Let’s use Feed.fm to give the caller something better!

Getting Started

Next, let’s get an account on Feed.fm. Head over to the sign up page and create a new account. When asked, tell Feed.fm that you are adding music to an app and mark the platform as Other. You’ll then be asked what music you want for your app – search for a station called ‘Spaghetti Westerns’ for our experiment (you can always change this later). Feed.fm will ask you if you want to purchase more minutes, but you can do that after we’ve finished testing things out. Once Feed.fm tells you you’re ready to integrate, click on Home, click on the app we just created, and then click on the Embed Codes and IDs tab to get the credentials that you’ll need to put in your code to access the API.


The key ingredient for using Feed.fm to power your hold queue music is the

attribute on the
tag, as in this document:


- See more at: http://feed.fm/twilio-enhanced-with-feed-fm/?__feed#sthash.1luG2dap.dpuf

If provided, Twilio will repeatedly retrieve the

to get instructions on how to entertain the caller.

We will build a script that requests music from Feed.fm and generates a TwiML document to tell Twilio to play the requested music. Our node script will generate a document that looks like this:


- See more at: http://feed.fm/twilio-enhanced-with-feed-fm/?__feed#sthash.1luG2dap.dpuf

Twilio will play that song, then on completion it will call the script again to get another song to play.

Feed.fm API

Feed.fm’s REST API has an endpoint called ‘/play’ that will give us a new song to play. Before we hand the song over to Twilio, we also need to call the ‘/play/:id/start’ endpoint to let Feed.fm know that song playback has started.

Aside from authentication credentials, all we need to supply to the ‘/play’ endpoint is a client id. The client id is used to uniquely identify a listener so that DMCA music playback rules can be enforced, and can be created with a post to the ‘/client’ endpoint. Normally we’d cookie the listener with the id, but we can’t cookie a phone client. This script will need to keep a server side cache that maps the caller’s phone number (provided by Twilio) to a client id.


Our node script uses the ‘express’, ‘superagent’, and ‘memory-cache’ modules, so make sure to install them with

npm install express superagent memory-cache

The simplest app we can make that responds with a TwiML document looks like the following:

var express = require('express'),
    http = require('http'),
    agent = require('superagent');

var app = express();


app.post('/', function(req, res, next) {
  res.send('Feed eff em and Twilio for the win!');


That script will listen on port 8080 for incoming requests. If you point your Twilio phone number to that host and port 8080, you’ll hear the message spoken to you.

To talk to the Feed.fm servers, we need to include some authentication with all our requests. This is easily done by base64-encoding your authentication credentials and placing them in the header with each request like so:

var agent = require('superagent'),
    feedToken = 'beefdecadebeefdecadebeefdecadebeefdecade',
    feedSecret = 'beefdecadebeefdecadebeefdecadebeefdecade',
    userPass = new Buffer(token + ':' + secret).toString('base64'),

  .set('Authorization', 'Basic ' + userPass)
  .end(function(err, res) {
    console.log('good stuff in the body of the response:', res.body);

One caveat for our script is that we can only deliver music to people within the United States due to licensing restrictions. This is easily handled by looking at the ‘FromCountry’ parameter passed to our script from Twilio. When it is equal to ‘US’ we’re good to use Feed.fm music, otherwise we need to serve something else to the caller.

The final implementation of our app sticks together all the pieces above and looks like the following (available on github here):

var express = require('express'),
    http = require('http'),
    agent = require('superagent'),
    cache = require('memory-cache');

var feedToken = 'beefdecadebeefdecadebeefdecadebeefdecade',
    feedSecret = 'beefdecadebeefdecadebeefdecadebeefdecade',
    userPass = new Buffer(feedToken + ':' + feedSecret).toString('base64'),
    host = ''; // replace this with your host address

var app = express();


app.post('/', function(req, res, next) {

  res.send('' +
           ' Hello there, please hold!' +
           ' support' +
app.post('/hold', function(req, res, next) {
  var from = req.body.From || 'unknown';

  if (req.body.FromCountry != 'US') {
    return res.send('We\'ll be with you momentarily!');

  getClientId(from, function(clientId) {
      .send({ client_id: clientId })
      .set('Authorization', 'Basic ' + userPass)
      .end(function(err, r) {

          .post('https://feed.fm/api/v2/play/' + r.body.play.id + '/start')
          .set('Authorization', 'Basic ' + userPass)
          .end(function(err) {

            console.log('playing ' + r.body.play.audio_file.url + ' for ' + from);

            res.send('' + r.body.play.audio_file.url + '');



/* Map an incoming caller to a Feed.fm client id */
function getClientId(from, next) {
  var clientId = cache.get(from);

  if (clientId) {
    return next(clientId);

  } else {
      .set('Authorization', 'Basic ' + userPass)
      .end(function(err, res) {
        cache.put(from, res.body.client_id, 1000 * 60 * 60 * 24);
        return next(res.body.client_id);

If you map your Twilio phone number to this script, you’ll be greeted and then placed in a hold queue that will play our ‘Spaghetti Westerns’ music!

While this is up and running you can log into your Feed.fm account and use our music management interface to change up the music all you want without having to change any code.

Happy hacking!

Learn more about Feed.fm by visiting their site here

Feed FM: Making Hold Music Less Boring With Twilio

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This is post #5 of 5 in the series “The Future of Education”

In the educational market, ReadSpeaker provides the benefits of its text-to-speech services to various educational segments. Schools such as Minnesota Infinity, Calgary Catholic, Georgia Virtual School, Gwinnett Online Campus, Anaheim School District, Clark County School District, The Virtual High School, SCcyber, and Southern Arkansas University Tech have integrated the ReadSpeaker services into their online programs.

Major LMS providers, such as Desire2Learn and Canvas, have found that the addition of text to speech helps their partnering institutions better meet the needs of all learners, and the ease of integration provides business advantages.

ReadSpeaker integration times

ReadSpeaker integration times

In the publishing area, many providers of educational content now see the addition of text to speech as a feature that customers expect, some of those publishers include Cengage Learning, EBSCO Publishing, CICERO Systems, Rosen Publishing, and Credo Reference.

John Knittel, vice president of technology for Rosen Publishing, explains why his company chose ReadSpeaker for its databases. Rosen is a 60-year-old publishing house that creates print and digital products for school and public libraries, including online databases in health, life sciences, physical sciences, digital literacy, and financial literacy. When Rosen moved into the digital space ten years ago, Knittel says the need for text to speech was “fairly obvious”.

“The company chose ReadSpeaker for several reasons,” he says. Its software was the best and matched the iOS system used on iPhones and iPads. Also, because Rosen’s databases “are very dynamic, we’re constantly changing content,” he adds.

With ReadSpeaker, it’s no problem to have new or updated articles covered by text to speech as soon as they are created. Plus, dealing with specialized and subject-specific vocabularies, “Rosen is picky about pronunciations,” Knittel adds. ReadSpeaker pays attention to this, and the readers’ voices are “excellent.”

“ReadSpeaker offers one major benefit that tablets with built-in text to speech don’t,” says Tim Lovelace, ReadSpeaker’s director of eLearning and publishing in the U.S. If a word is mispronounced on a tablet, there is no way for an educator to fix it. But ReadSpeaker can alter the pronunciation if needed. This feature alone could be key as more schools start to take their Common Core assessments online. “Educators can be assured that each word is announced correctly. Not all text to speech is created equal,” Lovelace adds.

Get Your Free Ebook:
Enhancing the Learning Experience: The Future of Education

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The post Adding ReadSpeaker to Educational Material appeared first on ReadSpeaker.

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business changeWhen it comes to marketing, John Ellett has seen it all. As CEO of nFusion, a digital-centric marketing agency in Austin, Texas, Ellett revitalizes all kinds of brands, from American General to Toshiba. But his depth of experience goes even farther, ranging back to the early years of IBM PC and the rapid-growth years of Dell—rapid growth he himself had a big hand in. On Thursday, Ellett joined the Business Marketing Association of Chicago at the City Winery and offered us some tidbits of wisdom that he’s picked up over the years. With his kind of experience, he’s witnessed every sort of marketing initiative and has picked up on the kind of qualities companies need if they’re going to move fast to reach big goals and be change-making players in the game. We’ve summarized the ones that stood out most to us here.

Being A Change Agent

If you want to see change, you’ve got to make change, says Ellett: whether it’s aiming high to close a sales goal or seeing a problem at your company and stepping up to offer a solution. Ellett insists this can be accomplished by anyone, at any level of the company: from CMOs to entry-level worker bees. Be present in the goals of your company and work to make change when you see opportunity.


Purpose-based brands are on the rise, Ellett says, and you should be thinking about the role of purpose in your marketing. He provided Saucony as an example, citing their mission to “inspire the human spirit through running.” A true mission can be a powerful thing. It’s reasonable to have multiple goals as a company, but when you have a single purpose, it makes it easier to focus on that particular thing and drive toward it powerfully.


This ties directly into the purposefulness mentioned above. All organizations of your business need to be aligned for the same purpose, Ellett says. Every aspect of your company, from the marketing to the customer service, should be aligned under the unifying purpose of existing to do x. This particular element resonated strongly with us, as we have written before about the importance of marketing, sales, and support alignment, so we couldn’t agree more with Ellett on this point.


Marketing is both creative and analytical; inspiring and strategic; it tells a story and it measures results. As humans, we’re wired for stories, Ellett says, but the problem with a business relying purely on stories for their marketing strategy is that stories are subjective. Therefore it’s important that a company find a way to marry the creative and the analytical. Ellett cited Denny’s restaurant as an example. Denny’s has undergone some struggle, but they’ve seen an uptick, he says, when they looked into the data and realized that a large part of their market was college students strolling in for a late-night meal. To use this objective data in a creative way, Denny’s partnered with CollegeHumor for a funny series of videos starring comedians eating at the restaurant. Creativity + data = success, says Ellett.

When it comes to making change and moving fast, we take Ellett’s word for it. Do you have any qualities you would add to this list? Leave them in the comments!

The post 4 Qualities of Fast-Moving, Change-Making Companies appeared first on Ifbyphone.

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West will acquire Reliance Holding, a mass messaging service for the education market.

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Service protection plan provider New Leaf will leverage Uptivity's workforce optimization solutions to improve the customer experience.

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Ivy is an interactive voice response (IVR) tool that answers customer calls and addresses common customer issues y.

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April 11, 2014

Google On Wednesday Google announced that it has made a change to the keyword information it provides from paid search ads. There has been a lot of discussion around how this will affect third party software providers, like Ifbyphone, that use this data in reporting. This change mirrors Google’s recent decision to remove search query data from organic searches, which impacted SEO information in Google Analytics.

Search Queries Removed from Google PPC Referrals

Google’s decision to remove paid search query data is part of an attempt to increase privacy for their users. This new change specifically removes the search query data a user typed in before clicking on an ad on Google.com. The user’s search query will only pass anonymously into AdWords and will no longer be accessible to third parties via the referral. To learn more about the specifics of Google’s change check out what Search Engine Land has to say.

How Does This Change Impact Ifbyphone Customers

While Google’s change may sound frightening, it will only be a small annoyance to Ifbyphone customers using SourceTrak for keyword-level call tracking.

Keyword data and full search query data will still be available to all customers inside of Google Analytics and Google AdWords, assuming that you have linked your Analytics and AdWords accounts. What will change in the Ifbyphone portal specifically is full search query data only. The keyword (that is what the advertiser bids on in AdWords) data is still there.

What has changed is the amount of data provided around the specific keywords an advertiser has targeted in AdWords (e.g., call tracking) versus the full search query a website visitor types into Google (e.g., best call tracking providers) and then is matched to the advertisers targeted keyword. In this example the keyword “call tracking” would be listed in the Ifbyphone reporting, but the actual user’s search query “best call tracking providers” would not.

All Ifbyphone customers can still:

  • Track the fact that their business received a new phone lead from paid search and process the call as usual
  • Attribute calls from paid search back to the Google domain, the campaign, the adgroup and the ad that generated the call
  • Track calls from referring websites like Facebook, Twitter, partner sites, etc.
  • Determine which landing pages generate phone calls
  • Use all of our other applications as usual: IVR, call distributor, etc.

Something important to note is that in order to see the keyword data, Ifbyphone customers must have the links in their Google ads destination URLs tagged appropriately. So customers may need to update their links to include this tag to continue getting keyword data. A SourceTrak specialist can help with this if needed.

Don’t Panic: Valuable Call Tracking Data Remains

Customers need not panic: the change only impacts paid search and it only impacts searches on the Google search engine. Referrals from all other sources (Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) will remain the same in the Ifbyphone portal. Further, this only impacts Google AdWords PPC keyword-level call tracking customers. All calls will still be tracked back to the source that originated them, and valuable data remains intact.

Bottom line: when implemented correctly (and Ifbyphone can help you do this), you can still see which keywords drive calls and you can still see which search queries drive actions (a Call or a Click) so that you can make informed marketing and advertising decisions.

If you have additional questions about this change and how it will impact your account, please contact our customer success team directly at (877) 295-5100 option 2 for help from a dedicated Ifbyphone SourceTrak Specialist.

The post Google Switches to Protected (Not Provided) Paid Search Keyword Data appeared first on Ifbyphone.

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The speech analytics market is estimated to jump from $456 million in 2014 to $1.33 billion in 2019, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 23.9 percent from 2014 to 2019. The numbers come from the MarketsandMarkets report, Speech Analytics Market Solutions (Speech Engine, Indexing & Analysis, (2014-2019). MarketsandMarkets segmented the speech analytics market […]

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Does it seem like your agents are moving from call to call without a chance to think? Make sure you’re giving your virtual call center agents enough time to catch their breath and document their call experience automatically by enabling the After Call Work mode feature with Ifbyphone! To learn what it is and how it positively affects your call center, be sure to watch our short video below and you’ll be a pro in no time.

Have another idea for a video? Tweet @IfbyphoneCST today!

The post Feature Friday: Call Distributor Feature Enhancement – After Call Work appeared first on Ifbyphone.

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The latest version of the Agnitio Kivox software platform delivers stronger anti-spoofing technology.

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April 10, 2014

We profiled Mike Turner as DOer of the Month and featured his developer profile on the front page of the DOer Gallery. If  you’d like to share your story on the blog, create your DOer profile and email community@twilio.com


To say Mike Turner got his start early is an understatement. Mike got the idea for Staff Guardian, when he was just 11 years old. Now, a decade later, he’s turned that idea into a key component of his IT company, TurnKey IT Solutions. Staff Guardian gives staff members who work graveyard shifts, or work alone, an easy way to send SOS alerts to their managers via Twilio. Once they press the SOS key on their Staff Guardian, an emergency call and text goes out to their managers.

We talked to Mike Turner about how he got started coding, what drew him to IT and more.

What sparked your interest into software development and IT? How old were you?

I was 11 when I built my first website, we now work on a variety of projects with start up companies through to public sector organisations

What was the first app or hack you built that you showed to family or friends?

Probably the very early version of Staff Guardian, which was called something completely different back then! – it was a simple web app that received text messages sent from lone workers when they arrived at a patient’s house. The app would record how long they spent there and after an hour, it would text them back to ask if they were okay. If they failed to reply back, an email was sent to their manager.

When did you get started using Twilio?

I came across Twilio in 2012 and we started working on ideas for integration with Staff Guardian in the spring of 2012. Since then, we have been thinking of other ways of improving Staff Guardian by making use of Twilio’s tech, such as our Emergency Control Centre  receiving calls via the client’s browser, which removes the need for their old PBX.

How are you using Twilio in StaffGuardian?

We use Twilio for SOS, when a lone worker presses their SOS button, an automated call is made to their manager, team leader or another colleague. We use Twilio’s say verb to tell them the name of the lone worker, their location and when they pressed the button.

What’s next for you?

We’re always working on new ideas, and watching the space!

Learn more about Mike Turner by visiting his personal website here

DOer of the Month: Mike Turner

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“I need to build a website using Microsoft technology that will help startups in Philadelphia. Would you be willing to help out?”

The eight developers sitting around a table at Seed Philly had each been asked this question by Brad Denenberg while attending a training series. He had recently started a seed level incubator and was hoping to build a content management system (CMS) that would provide more visibility for startups in Philadelphia. The site would allow both startup members and investors track milestones for the companies in the CMS. It was a cold Saturday morning and instead of sitting at home watching television this group was coming together at 1650 Arch St. to help a Philadelphia business. This was the first time I had seen developers come together on a weekend to work on a project. Fueled up on coffee, Red Bull and pizza we quickly hit our first hurdle.

redbullback“I’ve never used Microsoft ASP .NET MVC,” said one of the members of the newly formed team. He was not alone. Only four in the group had ever worked with Microsoft’s web stack and a few were mobile or desktop developers with not much web development experience in general. This could have been a huge stumbling block for the hastily assembled hacking crew if not for what happened next. The four developers who had the ASP .NET MVC knowledge took to the whiteboard and began to teach the rest of us. After about an hour of impromptu training we divided up the project and started furiously coding to Brad’s spec for the website. Periodically someone would show off what they had built and the energy would be reignited as individual efforts started to form into a functioning website prototype.

Each of us in the group hit bumps in the road. However, every time a bump was encountered someone would step in and help out. At the end of the weekend we had a decent prototype. Although it wasn’t the full site the group set out to build I was really inspired by what this group of developers accomplished over the weekend. It is really amazing to see what developers can produce when they come together as a team and share knowledge. This was my first exposure to the community aspect of software development. Everybody there sacrificed a big chunk of their spare time to help Seed Philly but also ended up teaching and learning from each other as well. I have always enjoyed teaching and helping others so seeing that there were community efforts like this was really eye opening for me. I left that weekend in Downtown Philadelphia knowing that I wanted to focus on the software community in my career.

Hello Philadelphia

brentavatwitMy name is Brent Schooley and I recently joined the Developer Evangelist team at Twilio. I live just outside of Philadelphia, PA and I am excited to work with the amazing software community here. Over the past year I worked as a Technical Evangelist for Infragistics where I helped foster and support their community through speaking at events, writing blog posts, and even writing a book about designing user interfaces for Windows 8. The best aspect about this role was constantly getting to talk to people about the problems they are solving with software.

I spent a lot of time traveling around the country meeting software developers in my previous job. Being on the road didn’t afford me too many opportunities to see what was going on in the city closest to where I live. Since joining Twilio I have spent most of my waking hours in The City of Brotherly Love and I can surely tell you that the tech community in Philadelphia lives up to that name.

Welcome to N3RD St.

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 10.26.58 AM

I’m happy to be working in the city at a coworking space called Indy Hall in Old City on N. 3rd St.  Actually, the street on which Indy Hall is located is better known there as N3RD St. The community recently had a resolution approved by the City of Philadelphia that will officially recognize the name “N3RD St”.  Many cities try to force the creation by officially declaring a certain section of the city to be a tech district. The N3RD St. cultural district formed when like minded people rallied around common beliefs and the notion of community building. Instead of renaming N. 3rd St. to N3RD St. in hopes that a community will form the city is acknowledging that the community is already there and has renamed the street themselves.  N3RD St. isn’t the only area of the city with a strong tech focus.  There are coworking facilities and successful software businesses scattered throughout Downtown Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs.

The software community in Philadelphia is varied and growing and I am really looking forward to learning more about the incredible things being created in this city.  The Twilio community is awesome to work and I know there are a bunch of you in and around Philadelphia The first example I found in person while in the city came when I met Adam Stokar. Adam is the founder and CEO of Club OS, a company that offers a CRM for modern health and fitness clubs. They use Twilio to help clubs and personal trainers follow-up with potential sales leads. Another great example of Twilio usage in Philly is The Philadelphia Police Department. The city’s police force uses SMS to help fight crime by allowing people to submit anonymous tips via text message. The ease of use and anonymous nature of the service have increased the number of tips that are submitted to the police by citizens.

I have great confidence that there are more success stories to be created in Philadelphia. I’m excited to see what problems you will solve with Twilio here in the city. I’m in Philly to help you build great applications using Twilio. There are a lot of great developers in Philadelphia and I can’t wait to meet all of you!  If you see me out and about in the city, at an event or at your favorite coworking facility, please don’t hesitate to say hello.

I hope to see you soon in Philadelphia and beyond.  If you want to contact me, I can be found in the following places:

Introducing Brent Schooley, Twilio Developer Evangelist

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phone callFact: The number of smartphone users worldwide will total 1.75 billion this year, while mobile phone penetration is expected to increase from 61.1% in 2013 to 69.4% of the global population in 2017, eMarketer predicts.

With more consumers using smartphones and tablets, there will be an increased number of mobile searchers for businesses and information on products or services. It is imperative for companies to leverage the rise of mobile technology and track interactions sourced from smartphones.

Fact: An average of 40 million calls are driven by Google ads each month, according to the search engine. BIA/Kelsey reports 20-30% of search query volume is from mobile devices, and 40-50% of mobile search has local intent.

This means customers are not only browsing brand information from their smartphones and tablets, but searching for nearby companies to seek out assistance or purchasing opportunities. While there may be a rise of searches on mobile devices, it is still easier for smartphone users to use click-to-call to call a company directly from a search results page, landing page, or website than it is to navigate on a smaller screen and fill out a web form.

Fact: 70% of mobile searchers have used “the call button” to access a brand representative directly from a mobile device. About 39% of mobile searchers frequently call businesses directly from search results pages, while 12% always seek to click-to-call.

Fact: Phone interactions are valuable to 66% brands because phone call leads present a greater purchase of intent. Phone leads are reportedly 10 times more likely to convert into paid accounts than online form leads. Furthermore, BIA/Kelsey reports 61% of customers find it extremely or very important to call a business during the purchasing phase of decision-making.

However, despite the valube of phone leads, only 19% of inbound phone calls are considered high-quality by sales managers, BIA/Kelsey reports. Many calls come in looking for account information, business hours, or other non-sales-related reasons. Therefore, each phone call should be scored and managed properly to separate the wheat from the chaff and take full advantage of the revenue potential.

What You Get With Call Tracking

If a company can track the source of these phone calls, marketing teams will have a clearer picture of which initiatives and campaigns are generating the strongest leads and the most ROI and revenue. Call tracking also captures key caller data that can help sales representatives offer a more personalized experience in each interaction and accelerate the sales cycle. This phone call data can identify a caller’s:

  • Sales-readiness
  • Product or service interest
  • Previous activity with the brand
  • Preferences or needs

To ensure your brand is making the best use of marketing spend and supporting decision-making with up-to-date ROI reports, utilize call tracking technology for maximum lead generation potential. The main features of call tracking technology include:

  • Unique, trackable phone numbers in marketing initiatives and webpages for detailed reports
  • Data to assist in A/B testing
  • Real-time and historical reports to support future decisions
  • Integration with analytics solutions such as CRMs and Google Universal Analytics

Focus on Efficiency

When call tracking technology is deployed across all marketing channels, brands can enjoy a plethora of caller data to support both sales and marketing teams. The solutions offer whisper messaging that captures key caller information and shares it with sales or customer service representatives before the caller is connected. When teams are equipped with specific caller information, it is easier to tailor the conversation to the needs and preferences of the lead, which in turn accelerates the sales cycle and increases customer satisfaction and loyalty. Double win!

In addition, the management and routing of inbound phone calls can be even more efficient with call tracking technology. Brands can create customized call routing options that direct callers to the most appropriate channels based on key information gathered at the beginning of the sales cycle. Companies can decide which channels to offer callers and different paths to reach these ends – whether it be through automated self-prompts or a virtual receptionist. The technology helps businesses separate callers seeking general information from those interested in making a purchase. The faster a caller reaches the ideal source of answers or purchasing options, the easier it will be to close the deal and retain a repeat buyer. Hooray!

To learn more about how to optimize the rising number of inbound calls from mobile devices, download our on-demand “Surviving the Mobile Tsunami: Riding the Impending Wave of Smartphone-Driven Calls” webinar. 

The post In a Mobile World, Marketers Shouldn’t Underestimate the Importance of Call Tracking appeared first on Ifbyphone.

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Apps offers 14 professional male and female voices in seven languages.

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April 09, 2014

Share This: Automated voice systems (a.k.a., IVR) handle more customer service transactions in call-heavy industries like financial services than agents, websites or other communication channels. […] …read more

The post How to Not Ruin the Customer Experience with Automation appeared first on Plum Voice.

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On the 57th floor of Chicago’s Chase Tower, the view of Chicago is nearly incomparable: visitors can take in the city as a whole, and from up there, it all looks very beautiful and peaceful, which is fitting considering the goal of the event held there this morning; POLITICO magazine’s inaugural What Works event, sponsored by JP Morgan Chase. There’s so much that isn’t going right in American politics and the economy that it’s easy to miss what is, and that’s the purpose of What Works, POLITICO says: to foster discussion on what is working well in American cities, highlighting innovative ideas—and how they spread—in cities across the country.

Today the event in Chicago involved two panels: one featuring a host of entrepreneurs and thinkers to discuss their side of things, and another with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, and Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto. What followed was a fascinating discussion about technology, business, and the positive things that cities—and Chicago—are doing that work. “When we study success,” Peter Scher of Chase observed, “it’s instructive.”  It certainly was.

Cities With Specific Knowledge

One of the panelists of the first panel, Prof. Saskia Sassen of Columbia University, joked that Chicago is “nearly perfect,” and while citizens may agree or disagree, it is a fact that Chicago has begun to carve out its place in the business landscape due to its specific strengths. It is generally believed, Sassen said, that cities compete more than they actually do: cities have their specific talents and resources that make them unique, so while they compete in some ways, our differences are what make us “specifically successful.” Chicago’s deep history of manufacturing knowledge, Sassen observed, is what set the city apart in the past, and acknowledged that while that talent remains the same in some spaces, it has also transformed as local entrepreneurs have sought to make the Windy City a hub for the next generation of “knowledge workers.” Specifically, technology.

Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871, says that it is Chicago’s knowledge base that sets it apart from other cities that are attempting to do what Chicago has done in building a landscape that fosters entrepreneurial talent. By bringing the big five universities of Chicago together, Tullman says, 1871—and thus the Chicago tech community—has been able to tap into a significant knowledge source that makes the tech space more competitive, more viable, and more unique, and that community is digital as well as physical.

1871 has a huge space in the Merchandise Mart, a physical gathering place for the tech community of Chicago where Tullman says “the exchange of ideas and energy goes on all the time.” Built In is the virtual platform for that community, Built In CEO Maria Katris says, with 20,000 registered members who, if they can’t attend events in person, have the opportunity to engage and communicate with their sector online. The connectedness has enabled the community to foster its own growth, and support from the mayor’s office, says Katris, has been beneficial as well. “Mayor Emanuel has fostered a lot of [tech] success,” she said, adding that the city has seen a shift in the way the major’s office and the administration deals with entrepreneurs. “They’re open to so many more things,” she said, pointing to startups like Divvy, the blue bikes that have taken over the streets of Chicago. “Almost anything.”

Mayoral Support, Entrepreneurial Initiative, and Critical Technology

On the topic of cities being more open to working with entrepreneurs, moderator Susan Glasser of POLITICO magazine posed the question: How much do cities need to change in order to pave the way for a future that is tech-savvy and entrepreneurially strong? CEO of Effortless Energy, Clair Tramm, says that the changes are already taking place, with entrepreneurs champing at the bit to begin new initiatives, previously blockaded by a lack of support from the city. Now, she says, governments are shifting their focus: framing the market and creating opportunities for entrepreneurs and allowing themselves to be more engaged with bright young companies who then take the reins for growth and job creation.

New technology is the critical contribution, Prof. Sassen added, noting that if cities can use technology to “activate” more areas of the city—specifically areas that are typically disadvantaged—then the payoff will be great. “People” are critical actors in reinventing cities, she says, and the government should be activating those people. “Open-sourcing the neighborhood,” she added, could be a path to cooperation between the government, citizens, and business.

 The Portability of Big Ideas

Another asset that Chicago has, Katris noted, is its tighter sense of community, both literal and figurative. While the technology scene thrives in San Francisco, it lacks the geographic “tightness” of Chicago that encourages the spreading of ideas. Hosting an event in River North, she observed, means being accessible to 90% of the sector in Chicago, as the majority of that community is located within a tight radius to Merchandise Mart. While members of a sector in Los Angeles, for example, are unlikely to drive from Culver City to Santa Monica for an event, the closeness of Chicago means that the community that is creating the big ideas are more likely to come together and share them. Different cities have different cultures of support, Tramm observed, and she says Chicago is on the cusp of perfection when it comes to the ways we share and help one another in our sectors.

Facing Down Obstacles

Despite the challenges Chicago faces, Katris insists that the city’s only real obstacle in the tech space is talent: people with the skills to move into this unique space and take it to the next level. Tullman noted that reform in education, universities of the Chicago area, and high-end vocational training are on their way to solving that problem by 2022, and by the time the mayors took the stage for the next panel, the stage was set to discuss education.

Mayor Emanuel acknowledged that education is one of his biggest focuses, for a multitude of reasons, but, in the business space, for the purpose of creating those “knowledge workers” that will carry the job economy of Chicago on to success in coming years. “Our universities are our biggest economic engines,” he said of older students, then going on to outline the new launch of Summer of Learning and Summer of Earning, programs that will prevent young students from backsliding over the summer, engaging libraries, museums, and camps to help create the educated workers of tomorrow. It is not only colleges but pre-K that will produce the ideas and talent that will drive Chicago’s economy. “Our best incentive is our workers,” Emanuel said, and that includes students.

1871 was named after the story of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. “It isn’t really about the fire,” 1871’s messaging goes, “but about what happened next: a remarkable moment when the most brilliant engineers, architects, and inventors came together to build a new city. Their innovations – born of passion and practical ingenuity – shaped not just Chicago, but the modern world. What started 140 years ago continues to this day.”

Indeed it does. As Prof. Sassen said, every city has its own stock of knowledge, its own unique collection of voices that makes it powerful in its own right. Looking at its vast community of startups and eager entrepreneurs, we see Chicago begin to shift into a city of the future. It seems that this city doesn’t need to burn to become something greater than it was before.

The post Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Local CEOs Talk “What Works” In Chicago Tech and Business appeared first on Ifbyphone.

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The engineering team at Twilio has been working to assess the impact for our customers in the wake of April 7th’s disclosure of CVE-2014-0160, known colloquially as Heartbleed. We join nearly every service provider on the Internet responding to this critical vulnerability in OpenSSL’s handling of heartbeat packets and conducted a comprehensive security review in response.  Our obligation as a custodian of your communication compels a unique urgency with disclosures such as these – here’s what we know, what you need to do and where you can find additional help from us.

Audit Results

Twilio’s public services are not secured by a version of OpenSSL with the Heartbleed vulnerability.  The Twilio API, account portal and interoperations with our network service providers were checked and tested for vulnerable versions of OpenSSL.  Further, although Twilio utilizes Amazon Web Services, our service is not served through products that were discovered to be vulnerable.

If the hosting provider or OpenSSL deployment for your Twilio application was not affected, there is nothing further you need to do.  However, many of our customers host their Twilio applications with hosting providers that were affected by this vulnerability.

All customers are strongly urged to audit the service providers hosting their Twilio applications to determine if their Twilio credentials may have been exposed.

Two third-party providers that provide ancillary services to Twilio were found to be affected. The vulnerabilities were reported following each provider’s responsible disclosure procedure.

The transactional email provider that delivers password reset requests was discovered to be vulnerable at 11:31am PDT and reported shortly thereafter.  The provider confirmed their OpenSSL deployment was patched and their SSL certificates were reissued at 3:44pm PDT.

Additionally, the translation service that hosts the Japanese version of the twilio.com website (http://jp.twilio.com) was discovered to be vulnerable at 3:35pm PDT. The hosting provider confirmed their OpenSSL deployment was patched at 4:28pm PDT.  Certificates for jp.twilio.com were reissued by the Twilio operations team and installed at 6:52pm PDT.

After our review of the account activity for affected accounts there is no evidence that any Twilio users were compromised. However, given the nature of this vulnerability, we’re urging our customers who have reset their passwords recently or logged in via jp.twilio.com to take some additional steps to ensure the security of their Twilio applications. Those customers should follow the Auth Token reset and password change steps outlined below.

While Twilio services appear to be unaffected, we recognize a number of you may be using hosting providers or OpenSSL deployments that may be.  Here is a quick walkthrough of how to determine if your host is affected.

How To Determine If Your Hosting Provider Is Affected By Heartbleed

You can determine if your hosting provider is affected by following these steps.

Step 1: Check Your Twilio Endpoints

Customers are encouraged to check all hosts serving as endpoints for Voice and Messaging Request URLs.  You can find these by looking at your Twilio Phone Numbers and TwiML Applications.  For example, you can find your Voice and Messaging Request URLs for a phone number by visiting the configuration for that phone number:



With the hosts identified, next step is to check for the Heartbleed vulnerability.  This can be done two ways.  First, one can verify the version of OpenSSL running on the host using the openssl utility:

openssl version

From Codenomicon’s disclosure of the vulnerability, the version number should be compared to the following rubric:

  • OpenSSL 1.0.1 through 1.0.1f (inclusive) are vulnerable
  • OpenSSL 1.0.1g is NOT vulnerable
  • OpenSSL 1.0.0 branch is NOT vulnerable
  • OpenSSL 0.9.8 branch is NOT vulnerable

Additionally, you can also check if your host is vulnerable using a tool testing the heartbeat extensions of your server.  A number of tools have emerged to test for the Heartbleed vulnerability.  Here are a few we found:

Step 2: Check Your Hosts Holding Twilio Account Credentials

If you have hosts exposed to the public Internet that store your Twilio Account Sid and Auth Token, check these hosts using the methods described above.  This vulnerability allows remote reading of the memory of the host.  Affected hosts could then leak Twilio account credentials that are stored in memory.

If Your Hosting Provider Is Affected, How To Secure The Vulnerability

Step 1: Repair Any Vulnerable Systems

Customers with vulnerable versions of OpenSSL are encouraged to repair their deployments one of two ways.

Customers can upgrade to a fixed version of OpenSSL.  This can be achieved either by using their operating system’s package manager (such as apt, yum or up2date) or by downloading and installing the latest release from OpenSSL.

Alternatively, customers can recompile OpenSSL with the following flag to disable the affected heartbeat extensions:


Step 2: If Necessary, Reset Your Twilio Auth Token

While no evidence indicates that any customer accounts were compromised as the result of this vulnerability, customers with vulnerable hosts are encouraged to reset their Auth Tokens out of an abundance of caution.

Note: an Auth Token reset will require you to update your Twilio production applications. This is not necessary if your hosts were not affected.

You can reset your Auth Token by visiting your Account Settings:


Again, resetting your Auth Token will require you to update your Twilio applications to prevent service interruption.  Resetting an Auth Token will cause Twilio applications configured for your previous credentials to fail.  Coordinating this reset and the configuration of your application must be done to avoid a service outage.

If you have any question about whether or not resetting your Auth Token is prudent, please reach out to our Customer Support team at help@twilio.com.

Step 3: If using jp.twilio.com, Change Your Twilio Password

Though we have no evidence to suggest exploitation of our Japanese translated site as a result of the affected hosting provider, we do recommend a further action for these customers for greater assurance.  In addition to resetting your Auth Token, customers who sign in via http://jp.twilio.com are encouraged to change their passwords.

You can reset your Twilio password by visiting your User Settings and scrolling down until you reach the Change Password form: Selection_008

Further Resources for Heartbleed Help

Everyone deploying production services on the Internet is working to mitigate the effects of this vulnerability.  Here is a quick roundup of resources we found useful in our response to this disclosure:

As always, if you have any questions about the security of your Twilio account, contact us at help@twilio.com.  If you are a security professional who has discovered any vulnerability in the Twilio service, we warmly welcome your responsible disclosure.

We’ll continue to monitor this issue as the community and vendors investigate this vulnerability further.

 Update: 11 April 2014 8:36am PDT - As a precautionary step for our customers, this morning we issued new SSL certificates for twilio.com.  No additional action is required by our customers nor does it represent any new information we have gathered around Heartbleed.  Our OpenSSL deployment remains unaffected by the vulnerability, but we believe joining the rest of the industry in this precaution provides additional assurance to our customers.

For further questions, please reach out to help@twilio.com.

Customer Security Notice on CVE-2014-0160 / Heartbleed Disclosure

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BigHand's latest release further enhances the accuracy of speech recognition.

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April 08, 2014

call centerWhile call center operations may seem pretty straightforward, there is always room for improvement. In fact, did you know a mere 2% increase in customer retention has the same financial impact on a company as a 10% reduction in cost? Well, it’s true!

Making call centers more efficient and effective in converting sales revenue can also have a positive impact on customer retention, customer satisfaction, and cross-selling or up-selling company offerings. Let’s discuss how your call center could be doing more for your company.

Focus on the Experience

The modern consumer is able to access company information and offerings through digital channels at a moment’s notice. The short attention span of the average customer, coupled with a sea of competitors in all industries, makes every interaction with your brand a high priority. Because phone calls are considered the most valuable source of high-quality leads, call centers must provide an optimal customer experience consistently and efficiently:

When interacting with a call center agent, customers often provide insight into their needs, preferences and wants. Enabling agents to jot down notes during interactions with consumers and store them in a CRM will help build a stronger profile and enhance each customer experience moving forward. The more information at the fingertips of sales and support teams, the easier it will be to resolve issues, customize service, and close sales.


While chatting to a friend or coworker now and again may be a good way to break up the day, consumers sometimes prefer to navigate automated solutions to resolve an issue with a product or service:

  • By 2020, the customer will manage 85% of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a person (Gartner)
  • 55% of consumers prefer automated self-service options (Convergys)
  • 59% of calls require identity verification, but only 3% are handled through automated processes (ContactBabel)

As more consumers demonstrate a preference for self-service, call centers should implement solutions to accommodate these demands. A hosted interactive voice response (IVR) solution allows a company to intercept inbound calls, determine the needs of the caller and route them appropriately to sales, marketing or support agents. Furthermore, IVR systems offer automated prompts that enable callers to navigate to specific information or a resolution on their own through automated processes.

Keep It Mobile

With the rise in mobile device use and increased reliance on cloud-based marketing solutions, many call centers have increased their efficiency by enabling a more mobile workforce. Agents can receive calls and handle customer experiences remotely, without losing access to data, information, or communication resources.

  • An estimated 2 million Americans work from home, up 61% from 2005 (Forrester)
  • 80% of call centers utilize home agents in some capacity (Customer Contact Strategies)
  • The number of home-based customer service agents nationwide is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 36.4% over the next few years (Ovum)
  • By 2016, 63 million Americans will telecommute (Global Workplace Analytics)

With voice-based marketing automation solutions, companies can monitor agents in disparate locations, while managing inbound traffic based on agent activity and customer demands. An agent panel can be used to monitor worker performance to better distribute calls and improve the customer experience. By supplying the resources to support a more mobile workforce, companies can reduce costs on overhead and enjoy hiring agents from a larger pool of applicants.

Ping Me

Last, but certainly not least, the modern call center must provide its agents with resources to interact quickly and efficiently with an internal message system.

When call centers integrate Zendesk technology, teams can take care of more customers in a shorter period of time, while increasing efficiency by viewing the most important call data front and center. And Zendesk understands the importance of strong service. According to its own statistics:

  • Currently 6,314 live websites use Zendesk and report an 86% customer satisfaction rating
  • Customer service success can be measured by monitoring:
    • Number of tickets received
    • First response time
    • Percentage of tickets resolved

Zendesk allows users to follow the progression of a customer experience throughout the support cycle, and integrates the information into CRM systems. Because the solution records phone calls and captures key information from the caller, more customized solutions and interactions can be offered to boost satisfaction.

If you want to compare your call center performance to those of other businesses, check out our “Hold Times, Hang Ups, and Talks Times” benchmarking analysis.

The post 4 Tips to Modernize Your Call Center Customer Experience From Start to Finish appeared first on Ifbyphone.

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April 07, 2014

Nowadays, you can summon anything from gourmet sushi to private drivers to your own personal helicopter with the click of a button. Whether it’s the middle of the afternoon or the middle of the night, everything is available on demand.

But there’s one industry which hasn’t exactly caught up with the times: dry cleaning. delivery.com set out to bring one million users a better laundry experience, and bring dry-cleaners new business using Twilio SMS.

One Million Users, One Common Denominator

DryCleaningDeliveryLast year, delivery.com expanded its delivery options from restaurants, liquor stores and grocery stores, and added on-demand laundry. For their users, getting laundry sent straight to their door is as easy as sending a text, or logging onto laundry.delivery.com. But, bridging the technological gap between dry-cleaners and users to launch their new service was no easy task. Their key to success was one common denominator between tech-savvy users and more traditional dry-cleaners: the telephone.

“Some of the dry cleaners were using the same practices put into place decades ago,” said  Senior Developer Tim O’Malley. Tim and his friend Jay Winters co-founded the startup Brinkmat, which was acquired by delivery.com in June 2013.

Using Twilio, the delivery.com team made dry-cleaners’ phones more intelligent without changing the fundamental way they were already using the phone. They built features like repeat ordering via SMS, real-time text status updates for customers, and automatic deadline reminders for dry cleaners via SMS and Voice.

“Let’s say you’re waiting for your freshly pressed suit to be delivered right before a job interview. Using delivery.com, you’ll get a notification via SMS right before your suit is delivered,” said O’Malley. “For recurring orders, it’s as simple as responding ‘yes’ to a delivery.com text asking if you want to repeat an order.” All these features are live on laundry.delivery.com today.

To cleaners and customers alike, Tim O’Malley said their Twilio integration was “magic.” Dry cleaners are landing more business with their new tools, and customers spend far less time hassling with picking up and dropping off their laundry themselves.

Today, 95% of delivery.com’s cleaners receive their orders via Twilio calls or SMS. For, delivery.com, integrations like this are just the beginning of a larger campaign of taking on real world problems and automating them. We can’t wait to see what they build next.

Learn more about delivery.com’s laundry service at laundry.delivery.com

About delivery.com

delivery.com empowers the neighborhood economy be enabling customers to order online from their favorite local restaurants, grocery stores, wine and spirits shops, and now laundry and dry cleaning providers at laundry.delivery.com. Every day more than one million delivery.com customers explore their communities and order from more than 10,000 local businesses while at home, at work, or on the go. With headquarters in New York and a growing presence throughout the U.S., delivery.com makes e-commerce an integral part of local daily life, helping customers shop, businesses grow, and neighborhood thrive.

delivery.com Bridges The Laundry Delivery Gap With Twilio SMS

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Word is only surfacing now that Apple quietly acquired automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology company Novauris Technologies, presumably to help it fend off competition from the likes of Google and Microsoft in the mobile device personal assistant space. The acquisition apparently took place late last year but had not been announced. TechCrunch only confirmed the […]

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social media eventLast week we joined Chicago women-centric tech organization Ms. Tech for a session led by Kelly Janowski of David James Group on the mysteries of social media and how businesses can be using it more efficiently to market their events. We came away with some solid takeaways that you can hopefully use to better handle your next event.

Not Every Event Is ‘Real’

It sounds strange, but it’s true: not every event that you run social media campaigns to promote is a physical event like a conference or a fundraiser. Some events are more like ideas: Women’s History Month is one example that Janowski provided. If a holiday, special day, or concept is important to the goals or mission of your company, then build social media campaigns around it. On the most basic level, they are cost-effective and easy to run. Just remember to define specific campaign goals, even if the event isn’t “real.” For something like Women’s History Month, the goal might be merely to raise awareness and demonstrate your company’s commitment. That is a perfectly acceptable goal, just be sure that you have ways of measuring your success.

Make Use of Images and Visuals

When planning a campaign for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Janowski stated that one of the things that surprised her was the shareability of an asset they created to help promote an event called “Be That Engineer,” in which women engineers were being called upon to inspire young girls about careers in engineering. They created many images including the outreach poster that you see below. They were shocked with the response they received: nearly ten thousand views in addition to the thousands of shares on platforms like Pinterest. The image is eye-catching and meaningful, which is part of what adds to the virality of images on social media. If you have the resources, spend some time creating visual material that will find its way onto walls, boards, and feeds, and meanwhile spread the message of your event—“real” or not—far and wide.



Get Chatty

Social media isn’t all about creating shareable things that you post and then let run on their own: it’s about engagement and interaction, which is why Janowski recommends things like tweetchats to get conversations going about an event weeks prior to the event itself. For one large conference, Women Engineers 2013, Janowski utilized the official hashtag (#we13) up to three weeks in advance to “stock the pond,” so to speak, with lots of conversation around the conference to get people used to using and seeing the hashtag. The conversations are things like “what to pack for #we13,” “networking tips for #we13,” etc. Not only does it keep the event at the front of attendees’ minds and build excitement, but the followers of those attendees see the hashtag enough times to where they eventually think “Okay, what is this?” and start investigating.

Give Away…Anything

A lot of marketers know they should be giving things away, but shy away from the actual act because they are under the impression that they have to invest a lot of capital into swag-bags, etc. Not the case, says Janowski! People love winning. It usually doesn’t matter what it is that they are actually winning; just the act of winning itself is exciting. So round up last year’s extra stress balls or pens; dig out those t-shirts from your last event that are laying around your office. They’re taking up space and you could be using them to draw event attendees to your booth with an easy Twitter contest.

Measure Everything

You saw this one coming. Just like any other kind of marketing, you should be measuring your success on social media. While this isn’t a strategy leading up to your event, it is something you should always do during and after. Twitter makes it easy to measure engagement and use of a hashtag, so watch those metrics. Do post-event surveys. Pay for social ads so you can measure clicks and conversions. Use bit.ly links to see who’s clicking what, where. This stuff matters and can help you decide what works best for your purposes so you can do more of it at your next event.

Want some more tips for driving leads and measuring success with social media? Download our white paper, B2B Lead Generation for Social Media: Tips for Generating and Tracking Phone Leads. It’s free and has some great tips.

The post 5 Tips to Market Your Event Using Social Media appeared first on Ifbyphone.

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Vonjour.com releases virtual voicemail dashboard to provide businesses a central hub to communicate with customers.

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TELUS will leverage Enghouse Contact Center: Service Provider platform to offer contact center in the cloud.

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April 04, 2014

Share This: The purpose of modern survey tools is to make doing surveys possible for the average person. As rapid application development (RAD) tools, they take […] …read more

The post A Primer on Modern Survey Tools appeared first on Plum Voice.

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chicagoland chamber of commerceOn Wednesday the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce held their annual Exchange Tradeshow 2014, where Chicago businesspeople gathered to mix, mingle, and learn what they could from the array of speakers there to enlighten us. The keynote was a special treat, I heard, but didn’t learn the speaker’s name until I sat down at the trade show and scoped out the program: Daymond John.

Fans of ABC’s Shark Tank, the reality show on which John is a star, were buzzing, and longtime business heads were expectant. After all, Daymond John is a true entrepreneur. Best known in the past for his mega-brand FUBU and more currently famous for his speaking engagements, books, and, of course, Shark Tank, John is 100% American bootstrapper, starting his clothing company, FUBU, in his mother’s house in Queens in his late teens and sewing hats by hand with his friends. His story is every entrepreneur’s dream: he saw an opportunity, he took it—and worked his tail off—and made it big.

The Story of a SHARK

John told us his story there in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency, starting from the very beginning and working his way through his history as a businessman, pitfalls and all. Johns knew in his heart he could make it in business, working hard from a very young age and learning everything he could from the vendors at Coliseum Mall. But it wasn’t until he was following a hip-hop tour along the Eastern Seaboard, making a few bucks selling t-shirts and jeans to the crowds, that he had his aha! moment. As he stood among the crowd on the tour, he looked out at the masses of attendees wearing Kangol hats and Filas and thought, “Who sent the memo?” There was almost a uniform to hip-hop fans, he noticed: like any musical culture, there was a style associated with the genre. And in that moment, Daymond John saw the opportunity to market clothing made specifically for that audience. And thus FUBU was born.

Now, twenty years later, Daymond John is a multi-millionare with his hands in many entrepreneurial pies: giving advice to other businesspeople on stations like MSNBC and winning awards such as Brandweek Marketer of the Year, the NAACP Entrepreneurs of the Year Award (which he won twice), the Advertising Age Marketing 1000 Award for Outstanding Ad Campaign, and others. We in the audience at The Exchange Tradeshow 2014 were privileged to hear his story and be inspired it, and even more for the tips he gave us as bite-sized takeaways. SHARK, it turned out, is more than a nod to the television show he’s famous for: it is an acronym that highlights the advice Mr. John gives to entrepreneurs who seek to make their business the next big thing. We will share them with you here.

Set Goals

It’s important to set goals, Mr. John says, because you need something inside you to provide momentum for the dream. Identify the thing that will power you forward, and set goals around it. Whether it’s a monetary goal or, like Mr. John, the goal to dance with Prince on stage on New Year’s Eve in 1999, goals are necessary. And if you don’t meet your goals? Failure is an excellent teacher.


Do your homework. Don’t set out to create a fancy app or an expensive business without first investigating the market. What exists already? What are they doing wrong? What are they doing right? Does the market need you? Don’t just jump in. Strategize.


That’s right, love. It’s simple, says John. Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. And if you’re like most born entrepreneurs, your business is like your baby. Don’t commit to something you don’t or cannot love.

Remember: You Are the Brand

Your personal brand should be powerful, memorable, and meaningful. These days, you are as much your brand as any other part of your business is. Market yourself. “You are always pitching,” says John. Don’t forget it.

Keep Swimming

“When a shark stops swimming, it dies,” says John. Keep swimming. Keep moving. Always be on the lookout for opportunities and trends. A true entrepreneur knows that greatness is around every corner—you just have to see it first.

The mild applause that greeted Daymond John when he took the stage was a standing ovation when he left. Half the crowd rushed from the ballroom to get a photo with him. If entrepreneurial spirit is contagious, Chicagoland left the Hyatt infected. Look out, world. Daymond John set some SHARKs on the loose.

The post SHARK: Multi-Millionaire Daymond John’s Tips for Entrepreneurs appeared first on Ifbyphone.

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AppTek's Omnifluent transcription and translation products are now available through AP's news production system.

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